March 28, 2022

From: Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce - Board of Directors

RE: Birch Bay Beach Park

For many years, the Birch Bay Beach Park has been the primary venue for large community events like the Kite Festival, Sand Sculpture/Rollback Weekend and Discover Birch Bay Days. 

Due to planned improvements, Whatcom County Parks and Recreation did not allow usage of the park in 2020 or 2021. Work is beginning on the Beach Park very soon (possibly by the time you read this letter). To see the complete Master Plan for the park Click Here.

Early stages of the improvements are scheduled to be completed in June of this year. Whatcom County Parks and Recreation has granted permission to utilize the Beach Park for events in 2022. However, there are new site restrictions and other factors that severely handicap the ability of the Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce to carry out successful community events at this site. Most notably:

·      Requirements for on-site ADA parking cannot be met. Communication from the parks and recreation office states, No public vehicular access or parking is allowed within the park behind the frontage fence of any kind, including ADA parking. Turf renovations and removal of asphalt surfacing within the park are included as part of the planned work for this year. Elimination of general vehicle access aids in protecting the turf from excessive wear and damage. Restrictions on vehicular access will change if formal parking areas are developed within the park. In regards to ADA parking within the event field, the property has no developed accessible facilities or routes within the park.”
·      Cost. The rental fees are substantially higher than what the chamber has paid in the past, to the tune of a nearly 1300% increase from the last time the park was used in 2019. The fee increase was first communicated on March 7, 2022 with a deadline of March 21 (2 weeks) to have the fees paid for the first event. The chamber did not anticipate, and consequently did not budget, for this large fee hike.

While we would like to bring your community events back to the Birch Bay Beach Park, it’s just not realistic or feasible to do so in 2022. We value and appreciate Whatcom County Parks and Recreation and hope to work with them again in the future.

THE SHOW(S) WILL GO ON! We are currently working on plans with other organizations at alternate venues and will carry out our event calendar as planned. While things may look a little different, we’re excited and up to the challenge of organizing and conducting full-fledged events the Birch Bay Community will be proud of! Updates on locations, schedules, activities and vendors will be posted at birchbaychamber.com, our social media pages, and in our weekly newsletter “The Buzz.”

2022 events:

·      Kite Festival – June 25 & 26
·      Sand Sculpture Competition/Rollback Weekend – July 30 & 31
·      National Night Out – August 2
·      Discover Birch Bay Days – August 27 & 28
·      Trick or Treat on the Berm – October 29
·      Ring of Fire and Hope – December 31
·      Polar Bear Plunge – January 1, 2023

We are honored to serve the Birch Bay community. Please reach out to the chamber staff or a member of the board of directors if you have any questions or feedback.

Respectfully Submitted,

Birch Bay Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors
Derek Jones – President
JoEll Abbott – Vice President
Dianne Marrs-Smith – Secretary
Linda Galle’-Parent – Treasurer
Doralee Booth – County Liaison
Jake Gobeille – Director
Dan McEvoy – Director
Molly Ernst - Director